While negotiators in Ankara discusses compensation to families of those killed in an illegal attempt to break the maritime blockade on Gaza, Israeli envoy Yaakov Amidror begins to raise the issue of Iran.
In an op-ed posted Sunday on the Digital Journal website, independent writer R.C. Camphausen noted Israel’s National Security Council chief is in Turkey, discussing the possibility of parking Israeli fighter jets at an airbase near Ankara.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel landed a short while ago at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport for a two-day visit in which he is expected to close a $10 billion arms deal that will include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE is set to receive some 26 F-16 fighters, and both it and Saudi Arabia are to receive advanced air-launched missiles in the deal.
But Israel will receive missiles for its fighter aircraft, KC-135 refueling planes that can be used in a long-range strike, and V-22 Osprey transport planes.
Up till now, one of the main deterrents preventing the Jewish State from launching a military strike has been the issue of the distance between Israel and Iran.
“We all know that the U.S. has stated it will back Israel in an eventual war with Iran,” noted Camphausen in his column, but “what is happening this weekend indicates that words are being put into action.”
In Ankara, negotiating teams for Turkey and Israel were set to begin discussions on Monday over compensation to families of those who died in clashes during the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, with negotiations on behalf of Israel led by Amidror, along with special envoy Joseph Ciechanover.
But Camphausen noted in his op-ed that Amidror is busy with other issues, such as “offering advanced weapon systems to Turkey in a bargain meant to re-open an airbase near the city for housing Israeli fighter jets and personnel.”
Flying from Ankara would make it much easier for Israeli pilots to reach Iran, and would eliminate the need to pass through the air space of nations would oppose Israel’s presence, such as Iraq.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has also been very busy meeting with Turkish officials as he continues to pressure the government to restore ties between Ankara and its former ally, Israel, for the good of the entire region.